Codestone is delighted to announce the appointment of Mark Ames as its new Chief Operating Officer. Mark’s extensive industry experience both in software and infrastructure, combined with his people-centric leadership approach, means he’s guaranteed to get everyone onboard to support Codestone’s journey for growth.
From scientist to tech guru
Studying Biology at Leeds University could have been Mark’s ticket to a career in science research, but he wasn’t sure if that was what he wanted to do. In fact, he did decide to choose science as a career, but in computer science instead and joined the Sema Group (later known as Atos) as a software engineer. It wasn’t until he started his new graduate job that he realised that the company name Sema spelt backwards was the same as his surname, so maybe his chosen career path was meant to be? The 10 years spent at Atos gave Mark the fundamental training in software, working as a software engineer, C++ developer and ultimately heading up Software Development for Atos. He continued his career in software by joining Capita for five years, where he was Head of ICT Applications for Birmingham City Council in a large joint venture to help deliver the council’s digital transformation. It was in this role that Mark was in charge of designing and building a brand new 90-seat offshore SAP technical delivery centre in Pune, India. Not only did this give Mark the opportunity to travel and work in India and experience a new culture, but it was an incredible success for the council, delivering extensive cost savings of over £2 million per year.
A career of two halves
After 15 years of working in software development, the second half of his career took Mark into the world of infrastructure. He joined Sopra Steria, a large-scale French-led global organisation and was appointed to lead the company’s UK Infrastructure Management service line focusing on digital transformations. He then chose to gain valuable experience working for a smaller PE backed organisation and joined ISG Tech for four years working as the COO on physical networking infrastructure, including carrying out acquisitions and exit strategies to support the group’s expansion programme. This gave him an important insight on how to manage new acquisitions effectively to ensure the success of an expanding organisation which will be particularly relevant to his new role at Codestone Group.
4 key values to success
Mark is clear that working to a set of key values is vital to achieve his vision which is “to change people’s lives for the better through the work that I do.” These values include simplicity, precision and inclusivity which are all imperative when working with people both internally and externally, ensuring there is accountability and responsibility in everything that is done. His other key value is maintaining a strong organisational culture, so people feel valued and are able to contribute to the direction of the company. Mark believes that by applying these values along with his business intuition, he can make a real difference at Codestone.
Aspirations for the Codestone family
His positive track record in merging organisations and different cultures is a strength Mark believes he can bring to Codestone. He already senses the strong culture that exists at Codestone which has a genuine family feel, where everyone wants to make a difference and contribute to the long-term success of the business. So, although Mark has ambitions for growth, his priority is very simple, “I want to retain the core of Codestone’s current success and to not break the culture by ensuring we bring on like-minded people and companies when expanding.” Having carried out organisational change in his past roles, Mark believes he is a good communicator and can encourage people to buy into change to move positively forward. Having said that, he understands that only incremental change is necessary at Codestone to steer it towards greater success. “The organisation is already successful and just needs intelligent evolution for the company to move in the right direction. I want to build on and enhance what’s already there as opposed to re-write it”.
A scientific approach to the role
Mark’s role will be focused on how well we can successfully deliver to our business and to our customers. To achieve these calls for a blended strategic approach using science as well as a ‘gut feel’ from past experiences. Mark understands that data and facts are key to underpinning good decisions and highlights, “Using data is needed to influence your direction as well as prove that direction is true.” But having built his own ‘experience portfolio’ over the years means he can use this knowledge combined with the data to have a trustworthy perspective and be confident the right decisions are made. He trusts this approach will help Codestone navigate around the challenges it may encounter and that educated decisions can be made to move the company forward in the opportunity-rich future ahead.
A rock and roll lifestyle
A family man and father of three, Mark enjoys nothing better than standing on the touchline, (normally in the rain!) cheering his sons on playing rugby. But it his great enthusiasm for music that really helps him unwind, to the point where he named two of his children after famous musicians! A self-taught guitarist from the age of 12, Mark now plays electric guitar in a melodic alternative rock band, Son of Shinobi, writing their own music and impressively having 2 albums published on Spotify. His claim to fame is having his music aired on BBC Radio and competing in the Battle of the Bands, and his music obsession continues at home with his collection of 27 electric guitars and still counting…
Moving forward altogether
His broad set of skills and key values will make a real difference at Codestone as it continues its journey for growth. Jeremy Bucknell, Codestone’s CEO is looking forward to working with Mark as he explains, “I’m delighted to welcome Mark to our leadership team. Mark’s strong work ethic and commitment to build on Codestone’s family culture gives us confidence that our growth in the future will not only be successful, but the organisation will remain a productive and positive working environment for all, which is very important to us.”
Mark wants to lead by example and bring the people with him on the Codestone journey. Through good communication and providing a clear message on the direction of the company will ensure he can involve everyone and make sure each individual feels they have a say. And watch out at the next annual Codefest as there may well be a new kid on the block. The only question is, which guitar from his extensive collection will he choose to play?